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Celtic Family Symbols

There are hundreds of Celtic family symbols that represent a myriad of things. Some coats of arms have been around for many generations. This article will cover some of the symbolism of the charges on many coats of arms.

Celtic Family Symbols

About Celtic Family Symbols

When it comes to a coat of arms, even the shape has significance. Also, the colors, animals, type of lines, plants, and other images all have a meaning. First, consider the shape of the shields.

  • Chief - a band at the top means authority, wisdom, and achievement in battle.
  • Pale - has three wide vertical bands, which mean military strength, and fortitude.
  • Bend - is a diagonal band that represents a knight's scarf and stands for defense.
  • Fess - a vertical band in the center represents a military belt and symbolizes honor.
  • Chevron - an inverted V to represent the roof of a house stands for protection and faithful service.
  • Cross Christian - is a centered cross and stands for one who served in the Crusades.
  • Saltire - is St. Andrew's Cross that looks like an X, represents resolve and resolution.
  • Pile - is a V shape representing wood used in building bridges and stands for construction.
  • Canton - looks like a flag in the upper left hand corner and may have a charge inside granted by a sovereign.
  • Bordure - is a shield outline inside the shield and represents honor.

Colors and Lines

The colors on a coat of arms are also Celtic family symbols. Gold stands for generosity, silver or white is sincerity or peace, and purple is justice of sovereignty. Red stands for military strength, blue for strength and loyalty, and green for hope and loyalty in love. Black is the color for grief and constancy, orange is worthwhile ambition, and maroon is victorious or patient in battle.

A nebuly line symbolizes air or clouds, a wavy line shows sea or water, and an embattled line, which looks like turrets, shows fire or a wall. An engrailed line, with the points going up, or an invecked line, with the points going down, stands for earth and land. An indented line that looks like a line of connected Vs, stands for fire.

Animal Symbols

Here are some more Celtic family symbols. These are animals and birds and what they represent:

  • Lion = courage, fierceness, or a great warrior or chief.
  • Tiger = valor, fierceness
  • Fish = regal origin or high stature
  • Bear - strong protection
  • Wolf = perseverance in effort or war
  • Leopard = valiant and enduring warrior
  • Horse = readiness for duty
  • Bull = valor and magnanimity
  • Boar = fierce fighter - The boar meat was considered the food of the Celtic gods and the symbol of a boar was used as a charm against injury.
  • Boar's head = hospitality
  • Hares and rabbits = peace loving
  • Fox = wisdom, defense
  • Dog = courage, loyalty
  • Dolphin = charity, affection
  • Tortoise = invulnerability
  • Griffin = valiant soldier, vigilance
  • Dragon - valiant defender
  • Stag = skillful, lover of harmony - Stags were the ancestors of the Celtic race.
  • Snake - wisdom, fertility, renewal
  • Martlet or swallow = one dispossessed of land, fourth son, perpetual movement
  • Eagle = protector, noble, power
  • Peacock = beauty, pride
  • Swan = music, poetry, harmony - The swan was the bird that carried the spirit of a dead Celtic Chieftain to the next life.
  • Dove = love, peace - considered the bird of God.

Plants and Other Symbols

  • Fleur-de-lis = sixth son, heraldry
  • Oak tree or leaves = strength
  • Holly - truth
  • Apples, pears, other fruit = freedom, peace
  • Wheat = abundance, fertility
  • Red Rose = hope, joy, seventh son
  • Shamrock = perpetuity, longevity
  • Quatrefoil/Primrose = tidings of spring
  • Double quatrefoil = ninth son
  • Cinquefoil = hope, Joy
  • Hand - faith, sincerity, justice, the sun
  • Red hand = baronet, province of Ulster
  • Sun = glory, authority
  • Tower = grandeur, society, wealth